Project: "Myco-Insulation!" - Kick-Off for Fungi!
The idea of using fungal mycelium as a binder for lignocellulosic materials is not new. Currently, numerous approaches, research groups and companies worldwide are dealing with this exciting topic. Wood K plus has also been performing research pursuing various ideas and exchanging knowledge with different company partners in the field of myco-material. Finally, the collected ideas resulted in the application for the research project Myco-Insulation, in the funding program “Bridge” at the FFG (Austrian Research Promotion Agency) which has been approved in December 2021.
The central research topic of the 3-years project, which had its’ Kick-Off on February1st, 2022 is the development of a cross-sector utilization concept of plant residues from edible mushroom cultivation for the production of biobased insulation materials. The Institute for Experimental Physics at JKU Linz, DPM Holzdesign GmbH and the Waldviertler Pilzgarten act as project partners.
In the cultivation of edible and vital mushrooms, many tons of fruited, lignocellulosic mushroom substrate accrues daily a residual material, which has so far been disposed of as compost or fuel. A higher value use as feedstock for the production of building materials such as insulation materials is therefore desirable. Initial experiments and existing studies give an indication of the versatility of materials made from biogenic residues with fungal mycelium as the sole binder ("myco-materials"). Due to low production costs and perfect recyclability, such myco-materials in terms of bioeconomy are ecologically and economically particularly sustainable.
The Myco-Insulation project performs research into the production of mushroom-bound insulation panels made from straw and other lignocellulosic substrates, which arise as residues in the large-scale cultivation of edible and vital mushrooms. The aim is to optimize the growth parameters and harvesting processes in mushroom cultivation on a laboratory scale in such a way, that, on the one hand, a maximum yield of high-quality mushroom fruiting bodies is obtained and at the same time, the resulting myco-substrates can be directly converted into "ready-to-use" insulation material.
The major challenge in the Myco-Insulation project is to design and control growth processes to obtain myco-materials of given shapes with homogeneous, smooth and dense surface structures. Additionally, such materials have to be light and porous and need the necessary strength not only to fulfill the required insulating properties but also to be processed easily. Also, the cultivation and harvesting of mushroom fruiting bodies should happen in the same growth process in the sense of a "cross-sectoral" use and has to be optimized according to the requirements for edible and vital mushroom production.
The resulting completely biodegradable myco-materials represent a natural plant fertilizer due to their valuable ingredients (glycoproteins, vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids, enzymes, etc.) and can therefore be completely returned to the loop in the course of composting and thus serve for the production of new plants for further raw materials.
Science transfer Bridge – FFG, 2022 - 2024
Myco-Insulation. FFG-No: 891082
Wood K plus - Kompetenzzentrum Holz GmbH
JKU Linz – Inst. for Experimental Physics
DPM Holzdesign GmbH
Dr. Cornelia Rieder-Gradinger
The project "Myco-Insulation!" - was funded by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency FFG.
For more information on the FFG's Bridge Program, please visit: